Farmers across the world face challenges in the process of producing food. These challenges range from climate change that has brought about long dry spells or floods. Some farmers, however, face unique challenges such as banditry.
In Turkana County, farmers in Kang’eriga and Namakat villages are forced to conduct farming under a constant threat of banditry. The farmers have been forced to readjust their farming hours while others have given up farming altogether. Productivity out of the affected farms has reduced making the communities more food insecure.
Namakat community farm in Katilun ward Turkana South. The farm is maintained by a canal that channels water from River Turkwel. Charles Muya is among the few farmers who continue farming despite the security situation. He says six months ago before the security situation deteriorated, the farm was highly productive and full of farmers. He says they even used even sleep at the farm to guard it against wild animals.
“We now come to the farm at nine in the morning and by three in the afternoon everyone is gone. At nine the sun is up so little can be done.” Muya says their farm has suffered due to insecurity as most crops have dried because no one is there to water them.
According to Muya, some farmers have given up farming and resorted to charcoal burning. “Some of us have preferred charcoal burning in safer areas because it is less risky than farming here.”
Charles Muya represents hundreds of farmers affected by banditry in the area. In Kang’eriga village about 100 kilometers from Lodwar town John Loleya recounts how life on the community farm has changed. He says he was forced to sell his goats after two failed attempts by the bandits to steal his goats. He says that they are on the farm for just a few hours and in fear. “We used to be at the farm at six in the morning to water the crops before the sun heats up. Today we can only be at the farm from 10 in the morning and by three we are back to the village.”
John says the few hours spent on the farm for the past three months of heightened insecurity have had an effect on the harvest. He hopes that security will return to the area and that normalcy will resume.
This #WorldFoodDay PanAfricare celebrates food heroes such as John, Muya, and hundreds of other farmers faced with unimaginable hardships. Despite the challenges, they continue with the work of producing food.
PanAfricare celebrates you!